Accelerating Inflation, Nonassumable Fixed-Rate Mortgages, and Consumer Choice and Welfare

Patric H. Hendershott, Sheng Cheng Hu

NBER Working Paper No. 755
Issued in September 1981
NBER Program(s):Monetary Economics

This paper measures the impact of nonassumable, fixed-rate, long-term mortgage financing on household mobility and housing demand during a period of accelerating inflation (l965_71l). We calculate that typical households who bought houses during the l96l7l period and utilized this type of financing would not have moved until the 1975-77 period. And this is in spite of rising incomes and a sharp fail in the real rental price or user cost of housing. We conclude that the nonassumable, fixed-rate mortgage is largely responsible for bath sluggish housing demand in the l967-79 period and its surge in the 1976-79 period. Housing activity would have been far more stable had variable-rate mortgagee been employed. Finally, the enormous gap between current mortgage rates and those existing in the19705 and the resultant huge capital gains on existing mortgages does not bode well for housing activity in the near term future.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0755

Published: Hendershott, Patric H. and Hu, Sheng Cheng. "Accelerating Inflation, Nonassumable Fixed-Rate Mortgages, and Consumer Choice and Welfare." Public Finance Quarterly, Vol. 10, No. 2, (April 1982).

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